Government to make laws to protect children: Alependava

Solomon Islands childrens
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THE outcome of a report showing over 200,000 children in Solomon Islands experiencing violence at home has prompted government to formulate policies and legislations to protect children.

Until now, government’s policies and legislations have been focusing more on violence against women and girls.

Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs permanent secretary, Dr Cedrick Alependava confirmed this during the discussion of the launching of the ‘Unseen, Unsafe report’ at Heritage park Hotel yesterday.

Alependava said they are confronted with double burden problem locally, in the Pacific and internationally and that is increased incidence of violence against women and girls and increased violence against children.

He said much talk has been exemplified and amplified by non-government organisations (NGOs), Development partners and Government on issues of violence against women and girls and ending violence against women and girls in Solomon Islands as well as in the Pacific.

“We have policies, regulations and law governing us to try and reduce violence against girls and women, but sad to say there is less emphasis on violence against child or children, even in our current policy there is less coverage on child security, as such we need to step up and review our children’s policy in collaboration with Child’s Right and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16.2 and maybe review Family Protection Act 2017 and Child and Family Welfare Act 2010 as well,” he said.

The SDG Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

Youths make up about 46 percent of the population in Solomon Islands.

Alependava said this composition shows children dominates the bigger portion of our population, and thus given the future they will live and inherit, they ought to invest in them early to enable them to be productive leaders and citizens.

The ‘Unseen and Unsafe: Underinvestment in Ending Violence Against Children in the Pacific and Timor-Leste’ report shows that over 200,000 children (72 percent of the child population) in the Solomon Islands experience violent discipline at home also revealed rising levels of sexual violence in the Solomon Islands, specifically the growing number of family members facilitating sexual acts involving children and arranging the sale of children for sex or marriage to those working in logging and fishing industries.

The research was conducted by Save the Children, World Vision, Plan International and Child Fund across 15 countries in the Pacific, including Timor Leste.